|20 July 2007
Sheffield actor Sean Bean returned to the city today, to receive an honorary degree from the University of Sheffield. His achievements as an actor, and his ongoing commitment to the city of Sheffield, were recognised in front of a degree congregation which contained several members of his Sheffield-based family.
"Itīs a great honour to be given this degree by the University of Sheffield, especially in my home city," said Sean. "The fact itīs here in Sheffield means more to me than anywhere else."
The now Doctor of Letters enjoyed his moment of academic glory, taking to the stage to collect his degree from Chancellor Sir Peter Middleton. "The ceremony was very good, a very interesting experience and a wonderful occasion, with all my family and friends there," said Sean. "It was a great oration and I feel very privileged to be here amongst all the other graduates, who gave me an excellent reception and have got their degrees the hard way!"
One of Britainīs best-loved and most in-demand actors, Sean was set to become a welder at his fatherīs workshop in Sheffield before discovering acting while attending an art course at Rotherham College. He went on to win a scholarship to study at RADA before making his professional debut as Tybalt in Romeo and Juliet. Receiving an honorary degree from the University was something that Sean says he never expected as a child growing up in the Handsworth area of Sheffield, adding that receiving the degree "makes his life extra special".
Since his debut, Sean has become best known in the UK for his role as Richard Sharpe in the television adaptations of the Bernard Cornwell novels. He achieved worldwide fame for his roles in big-budget movies Troy, Goldeneye and as Boromir in Lord of the Rings.
But, despite spending a large amount of time away filming on location, Sean clearly enjoys coming back to Sheffield from his home in North London.
He opened the Osteoporosis Centre at Sheffieldīs Northern General Hospital in 1998 and has been a lifelong supporter of Sheffield United Football Club, joining the Board of Directors in 2002. He even reckons that the doomed Tinsley Cooling Towers should be painted red, black and white, in tribute to the club.
He said: "I try to get back to Sheffield as I often as I can. I like to get back; itīs healthy and good for the mind. This city raised me and Iīm very proud of that. Itīs a cliché, but true, it keeps your feet on the ground."
"Sheffield will always have a special place in my heart," he added.
And judging by the hordes of fans who gathered to watch Seanīs photo call outside the University, he will always have a special place in Sheffieldīs heart.
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